Category Archives: Forever and Ever

Forever and Ever - Life

forever and ever: madison + zach

November 18, 2013

I can’t say it enough when I say that God works in amazing ways, especially when it comes to relationships. I never in a million years would have thought God would have brought a good friendship through the digital waves.

You have probably seen sweet Madison around here on F&H through our monthly collabs about our favorites. If not, I’ll catch you up to speed. Madison is a super talented photographer from Texas with an eye for clean lines, modern decor and a heart of gold. We have never meet in person, but she feels like an old friend who I could just sit down with coffee and chat for hours. She is a gem.

When I started this series of Forever and Ever, I immediately thought of her and her hubby, Zach. A marriage centered on God, teamwork, and their love of their two dogs is something worth reading about.

Marriage isn’t easy! It’s a daily climb but when you put each other first and rely on God, it becomes more than a exhausting journey. The view is worth the pain it took to get there. I hope that through this series, you will find something that works for you, inspires you and helps you in your own marriage.

Forever and Ever: Madison + Zach


When did you get married? October 16th, 2010

Favorite Memory from your wedding day? ah, I can’t pick just one! the first look, zach getting choked up during our vows (I was obviously already a blubbering mess), the food, the band, the fact that several of my Nashville friends made it all the way out to west texas to celebrate with us!

How did you meet? high school! he was a senior, I was a sophomore. you know…that old story. 😉 hehe (if you visit my blog and read the best worst prom story ever (in his bio), you’ll have a good-also humorous-idea of our beginnings!)

What you love about your partner? his strength. his compassion. his humor.

Favorite thing you love to do together. road trips to the big bend area, music festivals or spending time with our two furbabies!

How are you a like and how are you different? he’s the engineer, and i’m the artist. he’s calculated, researched + cautious. I’m more free-spirited, emotional + adventurous. despite our differences, we have the same values, think practically in all aspects of our life + speak in weird accents or sing terribly out loud to our dogs or one another on a whim. if you were a fly on the wall in our house, you would probably think we belonged in a nut house.

What is the best thing and worst thing about marriage? the best thing: always having someone on your team. to catch you when you fall. to sort things out + talk things over with someone. to have the freedom to grow + change individually, together. the worst thing: sharing a bathroom. just kidding. (kind of.) — it’s not the worst thing, but probably the hardest thing is to remember to be patient with one another, and effectively communicate feelings when one has hurt or upset the other.


Advice to anyone about getting married.  don’t get caught up in the routines of what’s next. “once we do this, then we will be….” just enjoy it. live intentionally, and soak up your little moments you share with one another. in the mornings with coffee before he leaves for work, or sitting on the couch before bedtime watching your furbabies dream their puppy dreams. and remember to always be slow to speak. with loving, uplifting words, we must build one another up, challenge one another + keep one another accountable. I believe so much that hateful words are truly damaging to the soul, not only in marriage, but in all relationships. be careful what you say, and always speak with love.

5 Random things about you and your partner. 

  1. we dated long distance for the majority of our time together. it was tough, but we made it!
  2. we love to ski and would live in the mountains in a heartbeat. (Girl, you guys are always welcome to visit!)
  3. we both love to play guitar but haven’t really made a point to keep up with it. I know, I’m crying too.
  4. we are not ashamed to admit we are addicted to crossfit.
  5. we often stand at the window to the backyard just to watch out furbabies sleep.



all of their amazing photos were taken by helen byrd

Forever and Ever 1, Forever and Ever 2, Forever and Ever 3

If you are married or know someone who is married that would love to share their story, please let me know!

Faith and Hope - Forever and Ever

Forever and Ever: Richard and Tessa

October 14, 2013

I love these posts. I look forward to them every month, not just because they are about love and life and marriage but because I get to have a sneak peek into the lives of some of my dearest friends or learn something about new friends. Marriage is not easy. It’s work and it takes two people who have each other’s backs to make a marriage not just a commitment but something absolutely amazing.

Even after 5 years of marriage to my one and only, you can read more on that here, I am still learning something new each day.

If you haven’t been following along, check out these other two Forever and Ever posts here and here. They will make you smile!

Forever and Ever: Richard and Tessa. 


These two are special. They have actually been Andy’s friends much longer than I have known them. Richard grew up with my husband and Tessa and Andy spent there golden school days together. I think Andy might even take some of the credit for this love connection! But ever since being in Andy’s life, I have grown to love these two as well. We were even blessed with their visit to DC earlier this year.

So with out further introduction, get to know these high school sweethearts and what marriage is like for them!

When did you get married?

September 26, 2010. We just had our three year anniversary and that is hard to believe!

Favorite Memory from your wedding day?

It’s hard to pick just one! First is probably our first look. We decided to do our pictures before the ceremony and have a first look before actually walking down the aisle. I know that is a little non traditional, some would say bad luck, but it was so necessary for us to see each other before heading down the aisle — I think I would have passed out if we didn’t see each other beforehand and nobody wants a passed out bride, that’s no fun. I was nervous and excited and jittery all day and as soon as I saw Richard that melted away and I just felt peaceful and ready to become his wife. He also just looked so darn good and the look on his face when he saw me will stay in my mind forever.

Second, had to be during the ceremony and our vows. Richard happened to be between jobs (read: unemployed) when we got hitched. We said traditional wedding vows and when Richard got to the for richer or poorer part he could barely keep it together, which means I could barely keep it together. It was intense and beautiful and amazing to say those words and feel that emotion with the support of all of our family and friends around us. Truly special. After the emotional vows, we did a unity ceremony where we were supposed to create a candle by pouring two different colors of wax together into one candle. Well, it was unseasonably warm for a fall afternoon and the separate colors of wax melted in their individual containers and we couldn’t really pour them into the one candle, it was hilarious and the perfect amount of comic relief!

How did you meet?

Richard and I have different memories of this, but here’s how it really went down… Richard and I met one night after a high school soccer game (yep, high school. Cue the oooohs and awwwws and that’s so cutes)

We had mutual friends but we were in different grades so we didn’t see each other often. The first time I remember taking notice of Richard was after a boys soccer game. We were both high school soccer players and it was pretty traditional for the girls team to go out and watch the boys games and flirt with all the cute soccer boys afterward. This game just happened to be right before homecoming, maybe even the week of, so it was a pretty big social event. My house was usually the hang out house and a group of friends came over after the game. I don’t know how it happened, but Richard ended up over at my house that night too, but a little after the first crowd showed up. My friends knew to just walk in the house without ringing the door bell and head down the the basement. Richard didn’t know the protocol and he rang the doorbell, I answered and the rest is history. We went to homecoming together that year and prom as well. We ‘officially’ (is anything official in high school??) started dating after prom in May 2003 and have been together ever since through high school, college, and now marriage. There is no one else that knows me or who I truly am better than he does. I am so lucky.

What you love about your partner?

I’m not joking when I say this, Richard is the kindest person I have EVER met. He will bend over backwards to help anyone family, friend, acquaintance, neighbor, stranger you name it. He never complains and works so hard to support us and the life we are creating together I can’t ask for anything more than that. Um and can we talk about his blue eyes for a minute — holy cow I’ll never get tired of looking into those peepers.


Favorite thing you love to do together.

We are fortunate and have gotten to travel a bit of the world together and I love it. There’s no better travel companion than Richard for me. From Hawaii, to Colorado, to England and Switzerland to infinity and beyond I can’t wait to see more of this amazing planet with him. At the same time we are also kind of home bodies and cooking a great meal together and snuggling in for a movie night or breaking bad marathon is also high on my list. We are also sports fans so watching games, or heading to the mountains for a ski weekend is not something I would turn down either.

How are you a like and how are you different?

Hard question! I would say Richard are a like in that we both work really hard, we like to have a plan and stick to it (me more than Richard, he is better at going with the flow, but likes a good plan). We both value time with our family and friends and are so thankful for the community of people we have around us. We talk about how lucky we are in that way all of the time.

Differences (there are many): Richard is so neat and tidy and I tend to be a tornado of stuff. I cook, he cleans (I HATE doing dishes. No problem putting the clean ones away, but nothing takes me to whiny town faster than a huge pile of dishes….or laundry). Richard is easy going, laid back and easy to talk to and I tend to be more rigid. I like a plan, and following the rules. I like to get on the airplane when I am called, see the movie I paid to see, and sit in the seats I bought tickets for. Richard sees these things with a little more flexibility than I like some times. I am a worrier, Richard is not. I worry constantly about money, and the future and my job and, and and…Richard doesn’t. It’s a great balance.

What is the best thing and worst thing about marriage?

Best thing: Knowing that there is no one else that knows me better than Richard. It is a crazy amazing feeling. Having an in home handy man isn’t bad either 😉

Worst thing: sharing the bathroom! Kidding, but only sort of :) On a serious note one of the worst things is also one of the best. I am so dependent on Richard and the life we have started to make together that I can’t imagine not being married to him or having him as a part of my life. That is a wonderful and scary, scary thing all at the same time. I already told you I am a worrier and sometimes the thoughts of what if something happened to one of us can be overwhelming and scary.


Advice to anyone about getting married.

We get asked this question all the time – what’s the secret and how have you been together for so long. We always give the same answer and we always get mixed reactions, so here goes…

You’ll often hear people say that marriage is work and that you have to work hard to be married. We don’t agree. Being together is the easiest most natural state for us. Don’t think that we don’t disagree, or get mad at each other, or all of the things that come up when you have been together for as long as we have, we definitely do, but us being together is easy, it just is. So what’s our advice? Work together and the rest is easy

5 Random things about you and your partner.

  • I hate runny eggs – seriously don’t even get close to me with that filth, but Richard loves them so send it his way
  • Richard modeled for a bronze statue when he was a kid and a life size version of the bronze is now proudly installed at a soccer park in Oklahoma. How cool is that?!
  • We want to live in Hawaii someday, we don’t know when that day will come, but we know we want it to happen and we are going to push each other to make it come true.
  • I am afraid of fish, and bees, and spiders — kind of makes the wanting to live in Hawaii thing a little challenging for me, right?
  • We sing and dance in the car, and neither of us are good singers, it’s hilarious but you probably do not want to ever witness it

Faith and Hope - Forever and Ever

Forever and Ever: Emily and Michael

September 17, 2013

This new adventure of blogging has taught me so much about myself and community. It still amazes me how even in this big ole’ world, we can still link to each other, encourage, inspire and have relationships. Nothing is stopping this girl from kicking butt and making friends, not even an ocean in between. Which brings me to introducing the second edition of Forever and Ever, (you can read the first one here about my friend O.E. and her hubby Dave).

I first “met” Emily while blogging for Umba Box almost a year ago. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon her blog, From China Village, but I immediately fell in love with her blog and her posts, especially her Styled in Ireland features. Emily is an all American girl from Maine that met and married an Irish man and they now call Dublin home. To say I am jealous of her is a little bit of an understatement. Andy and I have always wanted to live in Ireland. There is just something about those rolling hills, strong tea and my favorite store Avoca (which Emily talks a lot about on FCV).

You can read her blog, From China Village here, and make sure you check her out here, here and here, but first come read all about Emily and Michael’s marriage, adventures and see some sweet photos of these two.


When did you get married?

 Michael and I got married in August, 2008. Just over five years ago now! We were married at the college where we met, where my parents met, and just a few miles from where I grew up.

Favorite memory from  your wedding day?

My favorite memory from our wedding day is the speeches. In Ireland, where my husband grew up, speeches, not just toasts, are part of the wedding day. My father, Michael’s father, the best man, my sister, and Michael all gave speeches. They were incredibly thoughtful and moving, and it was such a nice way to bring in a tradition from my husband’s upbringing and introduce our friends and family to it.

How did you meet? 

Michael and I met in our last year of college, just a few weeks before school started. Technically, we had met a few times before that at parties, but Michael didn’t remember me! Apparently the third time was the charm. We started dating pretty much right when we met, and have been together ever since!

What do you love about your partner?

Michael has a wonderful heart for people, and is always, always kind. He never has a harsh word for anyone, and loves to find ways to help people. He has such strong faith, which I’m grateful has spread to me and which keeps us both afloat when things get tough. He’s also just a hoot! He recently decided we should have chickens — in our very small back garden in Dublin. And so we have chickens. Such an adventure!


Favorite thing you love to do together?

We love to travel together. Our schedules are so busy during the school year (I’m a freelance writer and blogger and he’s a guidance counselor/basketball coach/semi-pro basketball player) that it’s so nice when we can get away from our daily tasks and just spend time with each other, having coffees, people watching, exploring. I’m lucky because Michael also loves to plan all our holidays, so I don’t think I’ve actually booked a flight for myself since we got married! I just show up with snacks and he takes care of the rest!

How are you alike and how are you different?

We realized a year or so ago that we both have really strong eldest sibling traits, which is why sometimes we butt heads. We’re used to being the leaders of our siblings, so sometimes we think we have to be right! We’re working on We also both love organizing gatherings of our family and friends. We love getting our favorite people together for a meal around a table. But Michael is a night owl and I am really a morning person. I’m almost always up before he is, except on mornings he coaches before the sun rises! And I’m almost always in bed and fast asleep before he’s tired.

Best thing and worst thing about marriage.

I’m not sure I can answer this one, it’s not really my style. Marriage is hard and good and wonderful and trying, all wrapped up into one. I wouldn’t want to simplify it into best and worst.

Advice to anyone getting married.

Choose your battles. When I first got married, I really felt like I had to win every time. It felt like it was important that I was heard in the first year or so and when I had to give in, it felt like I lost. It took me a while to realize just because you aren’t right one time doesn’t mean you’re going to be wrong every time. There is no pecking order in marriage, it’s just a balance. Sometimes you give more, sometimes you take more. There will be seasons where you need to rely on the other person more, and then it will shift the other way.

Thank you Emily for sharing and for all you lucky readers, definitely check her out on her blog. It will make you want to visit Ireland and have a giant cup of tea!

Love and Hope, Em

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